As it is looking more and more as if Spring may finally arrive it is worth it to review once again the steps for getting your pastures ready for horses to use and enjoy.
- Test your soil
Check out this website for instructions on how to do this
- Decide if you need lime or fertilizer, the quantity and type
This video has some excellent information about what to do after the soil test
- Decide on the seeding combination
You should tailor your seeding combination to your horses needs and your growing region, talk to your extension agent or soil conservation district personnel. This article gives you a good idea of the different types of grasses and when to plant them for optimum growth.
- Determine how you can rest the fields long enough to allow the new grass to take hold.
Do some “out of the box” thinking about ways you can divide your fields for optimum usage consider a “track paddock” or dividing a large field diagonally instead of into blocks.
Check out this information sheet for rotational grazing ideas
Depending on the type of grass you select for your horse pasture you may need to wait until fall to do any heavy seeding (cool season grasses generally show optimal growth when planted in the fall). But even if you decide to move ahead with your seeding and use a warm season grass you still have time to get a good stand of grass going by summer if you are careful to keep the horses off on that area until the grass can become well established.
This information sheet is a little dry and has some odd illustrations but overall has some good information about how grass grows and why you need to protect it from hungry horses until it has had a chance to mature.
(Chapter excerpted from ADVANCED FORAGE MANAGEMENT – a production guide for coastal British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest 1999 Publisher: Pacific Field Corn Association P.O. Box 365, Agassiz, BC V0M 1A0 © 1999 Pacific Field Corn Association ISBN: 0-9685015-0-8)